London - England coach Eddie Jones has named an unchanged starting side for
Saturday's potential Six Nations title showdown against Wales at
Twickenham but recalled powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi to the bench.
kept faith with the XV who kicked off tournament leaders England's
21-10 victory over defending champions Ireland last time out - a result
that made it three wins out of three for the team under the Australian
and kept alive their hopes of a Grand Slam.
Tuilagi, 24, has not
played for England since a groin injury sidelined him for 15 months and,
even if fit, would have missed last year's World Cup after former coach
Stuart Lancaster dropped him on disciplinary grounds after he assaulted
a police officer.
Having made a comeback in January with his club
side, Leicester, Tuilagi then suffered a hamstring injury that again
kept him off the pitch.
But Jones, who has long spoken
enthusiastically about Tuilagi's talent, said Thursday in a Rugby
Football Union statement: "Manu has trained well this week and I'm
pleased with what I've seen.
"His selection in the matchday squad
is based more on potential than his recent performances in the
Premiership," the former Australia and Japan coach added.
has replaced Alex Goode in England's matchday 23, with Luke Cowan-Dickie
now the reserve hooker behind skipper Dylan Hartley after Jamie George
suffered a biceps injury in training on Tuesday.
the fit-again Joe Launchbury provides second-row cover with prop Kieran
Brookes chosen ahead of Northampton team-mate Paul Hill.
"It was a
tight call between Kieran Brookes and Paul Hill, who have pushed each
other hard, but Kieran gets the nod for Saturday," said Jones.
is a shame that Jamie George misses out through injury and we wish him
well in his recovery, but it provides a great opportunity for Luke
Cowan-Dickie to show what he's about.
"There is a huge amount to
play for on Saturday and we are looking forward to being back at home in
front of a vocal Twickenham crowd."
Saturday's match will be the
first time England have played Wales since the Welsh helped knock the
hosts out of the World Cup with a dramatic 28-25 pool win at Twickenham
England's starting XV this Saturday features eight
survivors from that match -- full-back Mike Brown, wing Anthony Watson,
Owen Farrell (now at centre rather than fly-half), scrum-half Ben
Youngs, back-rows Billy Vunipola and Chris Robshaw, as well as props Joe
Marler and Dan Cole.
In total 13 of England's matchday 23 this
weekend were involved in the World Cup loss to Wales, a result where
then skipper Robshaw was criticised for not going for goal with a late
penalty that might have tied the game and instead opting for an
attacking line-out that failed to produce a match-winning try.
sidelined Hartley from the World Cup squad for disciplinary reasons but
that did not stop Jones selecting the New Zealand-born forward as his
first England captain.
Wales are also unbeaten in this season's
Six Nations but do not have a perfect record after a 16-16 draw in their
tournament opener against Ireland.
Warren Gatland, the Wales
coach, named an unchanged starting side on Tuesday, the New Zealander
sticking with the XV that kicked off in the 19-10 victory over France in
Cardiff on February 26.
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Joe Marler
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Jack Clifford, 21 Danny Care, 22 Manu Tuilagi, 23 Elliot Daly